Practice Relating to Rule 25. Medical Personnel
Sierra Leone’s Instructor Manual (2007) lists “civilian and military medical personnel and facilities” among “persons under special protection”.
The manual further states: “All medical personnel are protected from attack while carrying out their medical duties and they should not participate in combat activity. If they do, they will lose their protection.”
Sierra Leone’s Instructor Manual (2007) states:
[M]edical personnel may carry a Light Individual Weapon (LIW) for self-defence and for the protection of patients under their care from unlawful attack.
Authorized Use of Arms
… medical personnel may use their arms:
- When they or a patient under their care are attacked by marauders, bandits or other persons violating the law of war.
- Medical personnel would be allowed to use his weapon without losing their special protection, if, for example, an enemy soldier enters a medical facility and start killing medical staff or patients.
- Medical personnel may also use his light individual weapon when serving on special duties. For example, when serving on sentry, or guard duty. Such use should however be limited to protecting medical installations, personnel, wounded and sick.
- The Light Individual Weapon may also be used by medical personnel in self-defence; if, for example, the enemy has fired upon him, his medical unit or those under its care.
Unauthorized Use of Arms
Medical personnel should not use their weapon against enemy forces acting in accordance with the law of war … Medical personnel will forfeit their protected status and may be attacked if they unlawfully use their weapon.
[emphasis in original]